Africa Creates: Manu Herbstein – “Write About History”

Africa Creates

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from a writer in Ghana, requesting an interview. Imagine my joy when that same writer solved a problem for me: how to record an interview with someone who is not in Nairobi. So today’s post is doubly fantastic, because I’ve learned a new trick and because we have the talented and fascinating Manu Herbstein.

Manu was born in Muizenberg, South Africa and he wasn’t shy about telling me his age (mid 70’s). Given his anti-apartheid sentiments and his desire to stay out of trouble (which he was sure he’d get into if he stayed in South Africa), he moved to Nigeria, and later to Ghana, where he has lived since 1970.

While curiosity may kill some cats, it led Manu to writing his first novel. If you want to know what he was so curious about that he felt inspired to write 300,000 words, you’ll have to listen to the interview. Let’s just say that one thing led to another, and four novels later, he has discovered a new profession: writing.

Ama, a Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, won the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Best First Book. Brave Music of a Distant Drum, a sequel to Ama, was published in Canada in 2011. Akosua and Osman won a Burt Award for African Literature in Ghana in 2012. Ramseyer’s Ghost, a political thriller set in Ghana in 2050, was long-listed in the 2013 Kwani Manuscript Project.

Manu is currently working on an illustrated historical novel, The Boy who Spat in Sargrenti’s Eye. He has had shorter work published in African WritingBaobabSlavery and Abolition, Chimurenga, the African Cities Reader and on-line. He is an active member of the Ghana Association of Writers.

His website has a number of primary and secondary documents relating to Ama and Brave Music. The Kindle versions of Manu Herbstein’s Ramseyer’s Ghost and President Michelle will be available for free download on 13, 14, 21 and 22 September, 2013. Don’t miss this chance to download a free book!

Listen to the very interesting interview below: